12.05.

1590: Cosimo II de’ Medici – the Patron of Galileo Galilei

1590: Cosimo II de’ Medici – the Patron of Galileo Galilei
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Early, tinted 20th-century photograph of the Palazzo Pitti

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 12 May 1590
  • Cosimo II de' Medici had the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany (Granduca di Toscana). It is interesting that Galileo, upon discovering them, named Jupiter's moons "Medicean stars" (Latin: "Medicea Sidera") after the family of Cosimo II.

Cosimo II de’ Medici, the Tuscan ruler who was a patron of the famous scientist Galileo, was born on this day in 1590.

He held the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany (Granduca di Toscana). Cosimo’s II capital was in Florence and he resided in the vast Pitti Palace (where he was born and died).

The palace is probably known to all who visited Florence, and is impressive for its huge main facade and its gardens (Giardino di Boboli).

Grand Duke Cosimo II was a member of the highly influential Medici family, which became enriched through banking in the late Middle Ages, and was particularly important in the era of the Italian Renaissance. 

The members of the Medici family were important supporters of the arts, and the family originated even four popes and numerous cardinals.

Cosimo II was born on this day in 1590, and his childhood tutor was precisely Galileo Galilei, who was about 26 years older than his student.

 When Cosimo II grew up, he was the sponsor of his former educator. It is interesting that Galileo, upon discovering them, named Jupiter’s moons “Medicean stars” (Latin: “Medicea Sidera”) after the family of Cosimo II.

Of course, that name for Jupiter’s moons was not accepted by others, but each of the four discovered moons was given its own name – Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa. 

Grand Duke Cosimo II died young, at the age of only 30 years. It seems that the cause of death was tuberculosis. It is interesting that even two of his sons became cardinals.

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